The facility has a capacity of 150,000 units per year.

Audi has opened its new Mexican factory, which will turn out the new, second-generation Q5 SUV for the global market.

The facility, in San Jose Chiapa, Puebla is Audi’s first in the Americas. At full capacity, it will turn out 150,000 units a year and employ 4200 local workers.

Audi chairman Rupert Stadler said: “The plant in Mexico is a milestone in the history of our company and an important step in our internationalization. It is one of the most modern factories on the American continent. With this facility, we have established an important site for the export of our automobiles to customers all over the world.”

The plant cost more than 1 billion ($1.1 billion) to build. Audi calls it a Smart Factory, in that it was extensively simulated during the design phase to streamline the production process as much as possible before the plant was actually built. Doing so allowed the 988 acre (400 hectares) site to be built in a remarkably short time frame of three and a half years. It also uses no fresh water.

Seven parts suppliers and logistics providers have set up camp next door to the factory. A total of 100 companies across Mexico supply parts for the Q5.

The new Q5 debuted at the Paris Motor Show last week. Thanks to the new MLB Evo platform - also used by the latest A4 sedan and A5 coupe - it weighs up to 198 pounds (90 kilograms) less than its predecessor, despite growing in every dimension. The interior has a useful amount of extra space, too.  

In the United States, the Q5’s core engine is expected to be a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder TFSI turbo motor making 252 horsepower (185 kilowatts). Elsewhere in the world, a wide range of petrol and diesel engines will be available. Rumor has it there also be an RS Q5, with a twin-turbo V6 engine developing around 500 hp (373 kW).

The first-generation Q5 has been a massive success for Audi, with more than 1.6 million built. The new car is expected to on sale early in 2017.

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